§ 32. Mr. A. Roberts
asked the Minister of Transport if a commencement date has now been fixed for the West Riding section of the London-Yorkshire motorway.
§ Mr. Hay
No, Sir. We are considering the objections to the draft scheme for the motorway from Crick to the Doncaster By-pass. The proposals by the local authorities for the further extension of the motorway to Sheffield and Leeds are being examined. It will inevitably take some time to complete the statutory processes. It is therefore too early to fix starting dates for either of these schemes.
§ Mr. Roberts
Is the Minister aware that there has been far too much procrastination about the construction of the Yorkshire Motorway? Will he bear in mind how important the decision will be, not only to Yorkshire but to the North-West, and that at the moment thousands of pounds' worth of road-making machinery is lying idle?
§ 38. Mr. Wainwright
asked the Minister of Transport if he will invite the West Riding County Council to act as agents on behalf of his Department for the building of the West Riding section of the London-Yorkshire motorway.
§ 42. Mr. A. Roberts
asked the Minister of Transport what decision he has reached concerning the appointing of consultants to be responsible for the construction of the Yorkshire section of the London-Yorkshire motorway.
§ Mr. Hay
The West Riding County Council has recently made representations to us that it should become our agent for the detailed preparation and supervision of the construction of the extension of the motorway to Sheffield and Leeds. These representations are still under consideration.
As regards the motorway from Crick to the Doncaster By-pass, consulting engineers have already prepared a draft scheme. In accordance with our general policy, it is our intention that the further detailed preparation and the subsequent supervision of construction should also be undertaken by consulting engineers.
§ Mr. Wainwright
I am shocked to hear that reply. Is not the hon. Member aware that the West Riding County Council has already carried out 51 miles of road building as his agent at a cost of about £17 million and that the work has been done satisfactorily? Will not he therefore take into consideration, or ask his right hon. Friend so to do, the work which has been done by the West Riding County Council to make certain that this authority is not pushed on one side for private enterprise?
§ Mr. Hay
There is no question of the West Riding County Council being pushed aside. It already has a heavy programme on its hands. It is now 405 supervising its thirteen-mile share of the Doncaster by-pass and some fourteen large A-road schemes. I do not think it can be said that the authority is not being given some work to do. As for the general policy, it is my right hon. Friend's decision that schemes which traverse the area of more than one county council highway authority should in general be carried out by consulting engineers.
§ Mr. Roberts
What does the hon. Gentleman hope to gain from such a policy? Will he bear in mind that the West Riding County Council has already carried out a large amount of preliminary work and has all the technical staff to deal with all the aspects of major road construction?